Mozambican Premier pledges to improve press freedom

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi said the government remains committed to "the consolidation of press freedom in Mozambique".
Speaking Thursday in his weekly briefing to the media, which coincided with World Press Freedom Day, Mocumbi said "the government vehemently rejects any attempt to throttle press freedom, including any intimidation or assault on journalists".
He reiterated the government's commitment to do justice to those who murdered Mozambique's best-known journalist, Carlos Cardoso, editor of the independent daily, Metical, last November.
All of those involved in the assassination, including those who pulled the triggers and those who gave the orders "must be tracked down, put on trial and severely punished for this crime", Mocumbi said.
To date, nine people have been arrested in connection with the murder.
Eight are in custody, while a ninth is out on bail.
Those currently in Maputo's top security prison include three men alleged to have ordered the killing - former bank manager Vicente Ramaya, and businessmen Ayob Abdul Satar and Momade Assife Abdul Satar.
The three were among the main suspects in the theft of about 14 million US dollars from the country's largest bank, a matter that Cardoso had persistently investigated.
Mocumbi declared that he was in solidarity with "all those who, by word and by deed, are committed to press freedom in Mozambique and in the world".
In reply to whether the Mozambican government would actively defend press freedom in other SADC (Southern African development Community) countries such as Zimbabwe, Angola, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where journalists are harassed, tortured and jailed, Mocumbi said the Mozambican government intended to lead by example.
"The attitude of the Mozambican government is that of a government that does not interfere in the governance of other states", he said.
"We set an example by what we ourselves do".
"We have enshrined press freedom in our laws", he added.
"And we express our solidarity with all those who work to promote, anywhere in the world, active press freedom.
This declaration itself is one of the ways to express what we would wish to see practised, not only in our country, but in the world".
Mocumbi said he believed a verbal commitment to press freedom was worth much more "when the politician concerned practised what he preached".

04 may 2001 12:04:00

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